Dune Learning: Training at the Platte Plains


by Jeanne Esch

A gang of good people gathered Thursday April 26; some wearing rain jackets and gloves and others wishing they had!  Still, it didn't matter to this group that the air was damp and chilly. Each member had great enthusiasm for the project of determining trail accessibility in areas of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL). Some of the group were from the Park Service, some members of Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, some from Disability Network, which serves to enhance the lives of many in the Northern Michigan area.

We met at the Platte River Picnic Area by the Platte River Campground. The approximate 15 miles of trails in this area have been targeted as "where to begin" in assessing over 100 miles of trails in the SBDNL area. Because of the campground here, the Platte Plains Trail is well used.

Thursday was a training session for some and a remembering session for others. Remember, "How did we record that?" "Did we measure from here or from there?" Things quickly came back to those of us who had practiced measuring slope and cross-slope a few weeks ago and the others picked up the skills easily.

In earlier postings I talked about how trail access is measured: width of the trail, surface, slope (up and down) and cross-slope (does the trail slant to the left or right and if so, how much?), obstacles as tree roots, signage, trail head access, spots to rest (stumps, downed trees). These were all the things we had to remember to do... and how to do.

The best way to learn and remember is to go out on the trails and use the equipment. And so our gang split into two groups. Each group went off on a different loop of the many that are a part of the Platte Plains Trail.

Meet the gang. Take a break. Then come back and check other postings to learn of the adventures of this particular Thursday.

Meet the Gang that Gathered - Regardless of the drizzle and cool weather.

Ranger Matt, Lisa, Kimberly, Kathy, Jeff, Leonard, and Kerry (I'm taking the picture!)

With dDistance Measuring Wheels, Maps, Forms, Tape Measures, Clinometers (to measure slopes)

and Enthusiasm... they're ready to assess the Trails!

                                    Oh, there I am! Or there I go...




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